The term ZEOPONICS was introduced by USA National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). For growing plants in enclosed area of space stations the NASA scientists created natural zeolite-based substrate (clinoptilolite) which, following water addition, provides for ion exchange in the substrate elements and enable slow release of nutrients for use by plants. This substrate was used for the first time in MIR space station, and radish and wheat were the first cultures grown in space by applying the zeoponics technique.
Nowadays, zeolite application for plant seeds sprouting is made easy for all supporters of healthy lifestyle. Sprouts cultivated by this method are safe for direct consumption, moreover, they grow up more rapidly and are more succulent as compared to the traditional method of seed sprouting (water flushing 2–3 times a day). Besides, zeolite ability to hold water and slowly release it for use by plants provides for saving of water application time and makes the process simple and fast.
To achieve rapid sprouting of seeds of various plants it is sufficient to put the zeolite layer of just 1 cm into a plain container. Since zeolite catches moisture it is necessary to pour water 3-4 mm above the zeolite layer. The seeds can be added right away or it is possible to wait until the time when the process of air discharge from zeolite pores accompanied by hissing stops and scatter the seeds evenly on the surface.
To speed up the process, it is recommended to cover the container for the initial 24 hours. This allows to reduce water evaporation from the seeds surface and accelerate seeds germination. Frequency of water additional application depends on the specific plant and humidity of the environment. In case of large sprouts, such as radish sprouts, after a few days there may be a need in additional water application on a daily basis. But in case of the garden cress sprouts, for instance, water addition may only be required every 3-4 days. Anyway, in case of zeolite application, growth rapidity and a simple procedure of tending the plants grown on the “windowsill seed-bed” are two of the main advantages of the proposed method.
* Like any other mineral dust, zeolite dust requires careful handling to prevent inhalation
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